My littlest one will be one whole year next month. I can’t believe it has been almost a year already! I say that with each one, but the time really does go faster than I realize. Being the real foodie fanatic that I am, delaying solids for my little ones seems the most natural, traditional way to go. I breastfeed them exclusively until they are almost one (and still continue breastfeeding as long as we are able). I do this for so many reasons, but here are my favorites:
- Breast milk from a healthy mama, who is eating a nourishing, real foods diet is SUPREME to any alternative;
- Babies do not even develop the necessary digestive enzymes to digest or assimilate grains and many other foods until between 6-12 months; and
- Exclusive breasfeeding allows my baby to be with me 24/7 – babies need their healthy mama all the time not only for physical health, but for emotional, mental, and spiritual.
And there’s so more! (For more information, read Real Food for Mother and Baby.) But hey, never take anyone’s word for it – do your own research with reliable, honest sources.
When I do start them on solids, I begin with vegetables, some fruits, organic butter and almond butter, and fermented foods (such as homemade yogurt or spelt sourdough crackers). I don’t usually go out of my way to make them special food, but rather just give them what I have already made for snacks or dinner (just keeping the baby’s spice free and simple) Today, I gave Joey some yogurt and he just loved it. I was surprised, because usually at the beginning, they don’t seem to “love” any food; they simply enjoy the new taste and the newness of eating. But he really enjoyed this one, so here’s my simple recipe for a first food:
Homemade Cinnamon Yogurt
- 3 quarts raw, pastured milk
- 3 Tablespoons yogurt culture (I used an organic Greek yogurt)
- Stevia extract or Sucanat (optional) - do not use raw honey yet
- Add milk to a large stockpot and heat gently until 180 degrees.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to 110.
- Pour milk into quart jars, leaving a little space at the top
- Mix in 1 Tablespoon of yogurt starter into each quart. Put lids on the jars.
- Add warm water (110 degrees) to the stockpot and place the quart jars in the water bath.
- Place the stockpot on a heating pad (or heating element of choice) and keep the heat steady at no more than 110 degrees and no lower than 95.
- Leave yogurt for 24 hours.
- After yogurt is thickened, put it in the fridge – it will become even more solid after cooling.
- Scoop out 1/2 cup yogurt into a bowl.
- Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon and a dash of sucanat or a couple drops of stevia extract.
- Mix well and serve.
Though I don’t like heating raw milk, for this ferment it does make the end result thicker without the use of gelatin or other thickeners. Also, using just a tablespoon of starter gives the culture space to work, which in the end creates a smoother, slightly tangy taste. This might just become my new favorite snack as well!